Many people of my generation (and the previous one) are nostalgic about Disney, whether they have memories from going to Disneyland as a child, watching Disney Specials on TV, or fondly recalling the animated movies of your childhood. For me, though, most of my Disney nostalgia has to do with Walt Disney’s futurism, which all happened long before I was born.
This independent documentary by CM Films called Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow: The Futurism of Walt Disney dives deep into the technologies Walt Disney used and developed over the course of his life. They cover his animation technology, his educational TV shows, and even the experimental city he originally envisioned EPCOT to be. The film utilizes vintage archival footage that any retrofuturist will love, while exploring the history of Disney’s visions and developments through expert interviews from people who worked on the projects.
The full-length documentary is available to stream for free on Youtube:
If you’re not as interested in the history of Walt’s animation achievements, the documentary starts discussing the development, construction, and early days of Disneyland at 48:30, and the futurism of Tomorrowland in the park and the TV show at 58:00. This section talks about how the TV show was designed to be “science factual” to show viewers technology in development and how we would travel in space. There’s beautiful vintage footage of these retrofuturist visions from the “Man in Space” TV program. Check out some awesome screencaps below:
I was browsing Pinterest when I saw this photograph that immediately caught my eye. I’m obsessed with retrofuturist predictions about homes, especially kitchens. In the 1950s and 60s, kitchens were still considered “the woman’s domain,” and most of the technology predicted for women was in this arena. We’ve often seen the smart kitchen with computers managing diet and perfectly prepared food emerging from hidden appliances. But rarely do we see what amazing technological predictions they had for cleaning the floor.
So this was a little more than a prediction, more like an invention that was ahead of its time. This robot floor cleaner was patented in 1957 by Donald G Moore. Controlled by a central console, you only need to press a button and the little robot appears and buzzes around just like the Roomba. It uses similar sensor technology and follows a preprogrammed path around the room so that the entire room is cleaned. One way it differs from the the Roombas on the market today, is one floor unit both vacuums and “mops.” Also, the design on the original is charming but very dated. Continue reading “Retrofuture Come True: The Roomba Predicted in 1959”
Here is an interesting short film I found on Youtube recently. Originally released in 1967, the short film “1999 A.D.” was released by the Philco-Ford Corporation for their 75th anniversary and it predicts the future of technology in the home. These videos are always a lot of fun to compare how close the predictions are to real life. I also enjoy seeing the retrofuturist visions of technology, especially from the 1950s and 1960s.
Check out the video and I’ll recap some of my favorite of their predictions below.
The video starts with a quaint beach scene of a mother and son (and some disconcerting horror-movie music), to set the time and also the new modular homes of the future. Kind of an odd opening, especially with such a dramatic reveal of what the year is. I don’t know how this film was originally presented to consumers, but I imagine they had some idea what they were getting themselves into. Continue reading “The Home of the Future: Year 1999 AD [VIDEO]”
These vintage sci-fi themed advertisements from 1968 for a now defunct product-line called Tomorrow’s Lestoil display some slick atom-punk style space suits and some outdated projections about women’s roles on the Moon. (For modern times, we are stuck with just general Lestoil.)
Unfortunately, women have yet to set foot on the Moon, and Lestoil’s hope to dominate the lunar home-cleaning market also did not come to fruition (in fact, the 12 men we’ve sent to the Moon have done no cleaning and have actually dirtied up the place).
While I love the design of the helmet, the practicality of it comes into question as it’s not air-tight and she’s not even wearing gloves. I wonder if this is another failed prediction on the part of Lestoil’s marketing department, attempting to kick-start helmet based fashion trends of the future, once our domed moon cities make space suits unnecessary.
At least Mom is making Junior responsible for his messy Martian friend…
Discovered this great photoset on Flickr today: The World of the Future: Future Cities from 1979.
Right off the bat I love the foresight of the solar-heated houses and the smart-ish wristwatch (though who would want to watch TV on such a small screen?).
The Home of the Future
The living room of the future, complete with a wall television (check), video phone (check-ish, if we count smart phones), antique film camera (check, especially if the guy in the back is film student using a Bolex), and bowl of fruit (check).
The technology I wish we had: drink serving robotic companion and that spaceship control panel-looking media center (do you think it plays records or is the laserdisc player of our dreams?).
The headphones, record collection, and Bolex camera in the back do make me wonder if we’re peaking into the home of future hipsters. Maybe those jumpsuits are the latest hipster fashion trend?
Perhaps the Russians have secret plans to send cosmonauts… (….maybe?)
The moonbase, appropriately named after Neil Armstrong and expected to be fully established by the year 2000. This underground base would be established for the noble purpose of mining the Moon of all of its natural resources and making money for the “Moonie” run corporations.